August 31, 2004
Day 4, Tuesday
This morning I tried to get us a reservation for dinner tomorrow night at Pahu I'a, the fancy restaurant at the Four Seasons hotel and supposedly one of the best fine dining places on the island. They said they were booked, but told me to try again the the morning. Grrrrr....why did we wait so long?
Up a little later today and headed south toward the volcano around 10 AM. It was slow going as the road is winding and only two lanes. We drove with the top down on the convertible as the weather was quite fine.
At mile marker 69 we started looking for the road leading to "South Point", the southernmost tip in the United States. It's quite a ways down the road (about 12 mile) and only two narrow lanes. The area is windswept and desolate and you'll pass by dozens of rusting windmills making up the Kamoa Wind Farm. Here, we did as the guidebook instructed and pulled over to listen to the odd sounds coming from the wind mill generators.
Once you get to the end of the road you'll find ancient fishing holes on the tops of the cliffs leading down hundreds of feet bellow. It's said that the current goes to Antarctica, so don't fall in! Warning, there are no bathrooms here.
After we left South Point, the drive to the volcano seemed to take forever. What was interesting to me is that unlike to volcano in Costa Rica, this one isn't as visible as you drive near it. We stopped at the park visitors center where we confirmed we would not be able to see actual lava flow up close. The ranger said we could see the glow of the lava if we waited until dark, but it just didn't seem worth it to stay. From there we went to the Volcano House Hotel and Restaurant to check out the view of the crater. We had a quick sandwich in Uncle George's snack bar next to the restaurant. The restaurant only has a sad looking buffet at lunch. Our sandwich wasn't much happier, but it was cheaper and had the same amazing view from the table. From then on we followed the route around the crater as outlined in our guidebook, each one with increasingly closer views of the crater.
Steam Vent cliffs.
Jagger Museum and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Pu'u Pua'i Overlook
Thurston Lava Tube.
On the way back we stopped at the Na'alehu Fruit Stand which is also known for it's tasty baked goods. We bought their well known macadamia nut shortbread which is more like a bar of macadamia nut pie. We also bought a couple of big chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies (a little crispy for my personal taste) and a slice of chocolate zucchini bread which was not too chocolaty, but still yummy.
For dinner, we went back to the Sushi place, Izakaya KAI, which is located behind and to the right of Pancho and Lefty's. The sushi was again fabulous and we had the spicy tuna rolls, tuna sashimi, unagi roll, and shrimp tempura roll. With 2 Asahi beers the total was $48 with tax and tip. Again, we sat and watched the same sushi chef in fascination. I asked him how long he'd been doing it and he said about 15 years. He said he used to be an instructor at the California Sushi Academy in Venice CA. Small world.
Last updated on 01/22/05